String quartet No.3 : string quartet
by Paul Stanhope (2014)
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Library shelf no. 785.714/STA 9 [Not for loan]
My String Quartet no. 3 was inspired by the history and landscape of the central Kimberley region which I visited numerous times in recent years, and also by the story of the resistance hero and warrior, Jandamarra, who in the late C19th fought for his people and warded off a whole army of troopers, ensuring the survival of his people.
The first movement, Tracks and Traces, was inspired by the dramatic manhunt of Jandamarra, where he uses his knowledge of landscape as an advantage to ward off capture. He is, however, injured. Slowly and inevitably he is cornered, captured and killed. The images you see will see are of an old prison in the middle of Windjana Gorge where local indigenous people were rounded up and incarcerated.
The second movement follows as a lament for the fallen hero. It incorporates a Bunuba song called "Dirrari Lament" which describes a mother Black Cockatoo grieving for the loss of her baby. This song is both a metaphor for Jandamarra's mother grieving for her lost son and also an expression of loss for the recently departed. I am grateful to June Oscar and Patsy Bedford who are the custodians of this song who allowed me permission to use it here.
River-run, is an energetic Finale which suggests the dance-like, burbling figures of surging water that is such a feature of the Kimberley landscape. The movement of water, for me, also suggests the flowing of time and with that, the potential for cleansing and healing. The music suggests a more optimistic tone after the violence and tears of the first two movements.
Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello.
Duration: 21 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Needs professional quartet
Contents note: Tracks and traces -- Dirrari Lament -- River-run.
Commission note: Commissioned by Musica Viva Australia.. Commissioned for Huntington Estate and Friends
This score (version 3, completed 2015) is available for perusal. This version is available for study purposes only.
Resonate article: Paul Stanhope at Townsville - a report from AFCM by Malcolm Gillies
Performances of this work
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